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General Chat Thread, What do I do? in General; Originally Posted by nephilim For me to go on the course for 15 weeks, the other half has to drop ...
  1. #16

    witch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    For me to go on the course for 15 weeks, the other half has to drop 5 hours from work for me to go on income support as JSA would stop (nice of them to tell me AFTER I apply for the course).

    Going to CAB tomorrow afternoon to see what my options are, as I really want the course but cannot afford to lose any money
    Oh for goodness sake - I think if I were you I would seriously think about going to the press as you are a perfect example of someone who is desperately trying to sort themselves out and being thwarted at every turn due to the stupidity of the system

  2. #17

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    What do I write in the email to the papers though...will be writing nationally as well as locally.

  3. #18

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    Just set out the facts as they are - the steps you have taken, the problems you have encountered. Brief but to the point.
    I would also contact your local MP as well - whichever side he or she is on, they should take up your cause

  4. #19

    nephilim's Avatar
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    This is what I have so far

    Dear Sir/Madam

    My name is xxxxx xxxxxxx, aged 26, and until October, was in full time employment. I write to you to highlight the struggles people are going through on the breadline within this country.

    I was made redundant from full time work on 23rd of September 2011 and went straight into a contract job which lasted for 1 month and finished on 24th October 2011. From that point on, my life has been hell, and it has been primarily due to the mistakes made by the Job Centre. Below is a timeline of what has happened thus far in my quest to get employed and the help (or lack of) from the Job Centre.

    • 24th October 2011 – I applied for Job Seekers Allowance online
    • 26th October 2011 – I had an interview at the Job Centre Plus in Dunstable, I was informed my sign on days would be Fridays, and the first one would be 4th of November.
    • 4th November 2011 – I phone the Job Seekers Call Centre to explain I have an interview on that day via telephone, which could take place between 09:00 and 17:00. I was informed by telephone to go in the following Friday (11th).
    • 11th November 2011 – I ring the Job Seekers Call Centre to confirm I attend the Job Centre today to sign on, and was misdirected by a member of staff there and told to go on my normal sign on day, and that it did not matter that I missed the first one as they keep the claim open for up to 4 weeks.
    • 18th November 2011 – I attend the Job Centre Plus to sign on for the first time and told my claim has been closed due to me missing the sign on. I explain the circumstances and told to do a rapid reclaim (which was done on the same day) with a backdated claim to cover my original claim.
    • 26th November 2011 – I receive notification that my backdated claim has been refused and I should call up to ask for a change of decision.
    • 26th November 2011 – I ask to sign up to a construction skills course and get accepted, and look towards retraining to broaden my skills.
    • 26th November 2011 – I call up and ask for a change in decision and I am told I will be notified in the post within 3 working days.
    • 2nd December 2011 – I did not receive notification so I ask the Job Centre for help whilst I sign on. Advised to take a letter in and they will send it off for me.
    • 9th December 2011 – I bring a letter in and was told it will be sent off via registered post and should call up on Tuesday 13th afternoon to ensure it has been received.
    • 14th December 2011 – I call the Job Seekers Call Centre and ask to be put through to Watford. I ask the person on the phone if the letter has been received, and was informed that not only was the letter not received, but nobody registered my initial call.
    • 16th December 2011 – I finish my construction skills course and pass the CSCS Card test.
    • 16th December 2011 – I sign on again and receive the first payment for 8 weeks since beginning the claim, and the amount is for 115.70 (which is 19.30 below the amount I should have received for the 2 week period).
    • 19th December 2011 – I call the Watford Centre again to see if the letter has been received and they replied that it still not arrived.
    • 19th December 2011 – 2nd letter written up and sent by myself (registered with proof of posting) to the Job Centre in Watford.

    I must say that I am utterly disgusted that due to a mistake by the job centre, that my backdated claim was denied through no fault of my own, and as such I have defaulted on all of my payments and will likely soon be homeless due to the lack of finances. I have made the payment of 115.70 stretch as far as possible with my partners income however we are unable to make the money last and used it to pay token payments for our bills in order to show we are doing what we can. I have borrowed money and taken donations of food from friends and family, however that has since stopped as they are no longer able to help, due to the fact that they themselves are stretching their food and finances in order to help.

    I have cut down on my food intake and have lost almost 10 kg in weight (1.5st) and have had to reduce my 2 year old daughters food intake by almost 1/3 in order to stretch her food for as long as possible. I have also stopped paying for my medication and my partners medication (anti migraine and anti epilepsy pills) as we cannot afford them, and as such we have been suffering in regards to our health.

    I am asking that it is made known that the people that use the system properly and look to do all types of work (be it agency, temp, contract, shelf stacking, cleaning, or any other type of work) and get continually rejected due to currently being unemployed or missing out to better candidates, get mistreated badly by the system. When phoning the Job Centre call centre in Watford in regards to help (in terms of an emergency loan in order to pay council tax and other bills) I was informed that my partner and I would be better off if she goes unemployed so that we are able to claim 27’000 in benefits (more than what we earned combined).

    In our present situation, we get ridiculous sums of money from the government to help us out. For example, working tax credits and child tax credits for my partner and I comes to a grand total of 9.83 per week (which granted is better than nothing and pays for my daughters meals for a week), job seekers allowance (67.50 per week) which barely covers the cost of getting to the job centre every other week, paying for the travel to get to interviews, the cost of the internet and phone calls used to look for work (as many agencies use 0870/0845 numbers, and ringing around on a daily basis costs a lot of money). We do not qualify for any other benefit, and in our current situation my partner and I have defaulted on almost all payments apart from Rent and council tax. We have let the companies know the situation, and some have been lenient, but we are still in an awful position.

    I am looking to retrain to broaden my horizons, and when notified by the Job Centre that a course in construction is available I jumped at the chance, however after applying, I was notified that if I went on the course I would lose my job seekers allowance as I would "officially" no longer be looking for work, which is crazy as I would still be looking and if the opportunity to attain employment came up, I would go for the job.

    I write to you so that you can help highlight the issues that people like myself are facing and to show you that people that use the system properly get hampered at every turn.
    Thoughts, comments, changes?

  5. #20

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    "Personally" I'm getting lost myself reading part of the letter. Maybe I'm just not understanding it fully but as an example:

    Code:
    • 26th November 2011 – I ask to sign up to a construction skills course and get accepted, and look towards retraining to broaden my skills.
    • 26th November 2011 – I call up and ask for a change in decision and I am told I will be notified in the post within 3 working days.
    So you didn't go on the course? Change in decision for what?

    Not trying to be picky, just reading through it a lot of it seems counter-arguements to itself.

    Steve

  6. #21

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    ahh ok, will be a bit clearer, thanks

    should read as

    • 26th November 2011 – I ask to sign up to a construction skills course and get accepted, and look towards retraining to broaden my skills.
    • 26th November 2011 – I call up Job Seekers Call Centre and ask for a change in decision in regards to my backdated payment and I am told I will be notified in the post within 3 working days.

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